StockMarketWire.com - Mining titan BHP reported a rise in first-half profit, but warned that it may have to cut its guidance if the coronavirus outbreak was not contained by the March quarter.

For the six months ended 31 December, pre-tax profit rose to $7.8bn from $6.8bn on-year as revenue rose 7.5% to $22.3bn.

Underlying attributable profit climbed 39% to US$4.9bn.

BHP declared an interim dividend of 65 US cents per share.

Looking ahead, the company said it expected petroleum production within the bottom of the of 57m-to-63m barrels of oil equivalent (boe) guidance range as a result of the impact from Tropical Cyclone Damien on North West Shelf operations in early February 2020.

More broadly, it said coronavirus could hurt wider demand for mineral and energy commodities.

'If the viral outbreak is not demonstrably well contained within the March quarter, we expect to revise our expectations for economic and commodity demand growth downwards,' BHP said.

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